Five Reasons You Should Read Shiver By Maggie Stiefvater
1. Creativity - The concept of werewolves isn't an original one, but Stiefvater's treatment of the condition is. These werewolves transform when the temperature drops too low, not during a full moon (though that bit of werewolf lore is addressed). Also, the ending is creatively done, foreshadowed during the book, and executed in a gripping fashion.
2. Humor - The characters in Shiver seemed fun and real, and a big part of this was that Sam and Grace both had senses of humor. Amazing how that goes a long way towards making characters more likable and the story in general seem more inviting and realistic. Three words: washer and dryer. All I'm gonna say.
3. Prose - Stiefvater has talent. The prose is Shiver was straightforward when it needed to be and poetic when that served the mood. And, by gum, the mere fact that Sam could think in song lyrics at times and not annoy the everlovin' crap out of me? That's an achievement all on its own.
4. Characters - I liked both Sam and Grace, and I cared about their romance and problems. Grace is a normal girl, and compared to some paranormal romance protagonists (Bella Swan, I am looking at you), she remains sensible when dealing with her boyfriend. Sam, whom I initially thought I'd dislike because he seemed like he would be a tragic, emo, misunderstood soul, turned out to be a well-rounded, fairly cheerful (as much so as a werewolf guy in his situation would reasonably be), and reasonably clear-headed individual.
5. Plot - Perhaps I should say "plots," as there is plenty going on in this book. Besides just the Sam and Grace romance, there's the mysterious death of Jack Culpeper, and Grace's relationships with her parents and Olivia and Rachel. These different plot threads are juggled skillfully, and they all pull together in the end to satisfying conclusions.
To sum it up, this is an overall great book. It takes a normal romance story, raises the stakes, adds excitement and supernatural elements, and wraps it up in a beautifully written package.
Also, right before posting this, I realized I needed to check the spelling of the author's last name, so I got up, walked over to my bookshelf, and looked. Walking back to my computer, I realized I could have just googled it. I'm... really not sure how to feel about this.